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Truth eludes in good guy gun story

Perhaps you’ve heard the story – the unreported, true story – of the good guy with a gun who stopped the shooting at that mall in Portland a few weeks back.

Or perhaps you haven’t, given how diligently the liberal media work to hide the truth. But out in the nether reaches of the Internet – where the truth about the truth is certain – the story of the good guy with a gun in the Clackamas Town Center has become a kind of gospel, and the refusal of others to embrace it has become a proof of conspiracy.

“National media fails to follow up on story of shooter stopped by a shopper with a concealed-carry gun,” reads the intro to a YouTube video about the story posted by, an organization that will teach you the truth about the Founding Fathers and their intents.

The story of the concealed carrier who saved the day, only to be ignored by the gun-hating media, has found fertile soil. I have been asked, with some indignation, why I don’t tell the truth about him. Why I and others don’t truthfully acknowledge that armed citizens are the answer to our violence problem. The only answer. A good guy with a gun.

Here’s how Easy Bake Gun Club – i.e., “the hottest gun club around” – prefaced a long firsthand account of the events: “(T)he mainstream media skip past the fact that a concealed carrier confronted an active shooter and caused him to abandon his plans, run for a service corridor and stairway and kill himself as these shooters typically do.”

Here’s the synopsis offered by “In Oregon two innocent human beings lost their lives, but perhaps the carnage would have been worse if not for Nick Meli, who has a concealed carry permit and was in the mall when the gunman opened fire. Meli pulled his weapon, but did not shoot the gunman because there were bystanders who could have been injured. The gunman saw Meli, an armed citizen, and rather than shoot more innocents he pointed his weapon at himself.”

Here’s another version from bellicose blogville: “A 22 year old man with his concealed handgun license and legally carrying his pistol ran towards the chaos and intervened before the shooter could get off another shot at an innocent shopper.”

Or this, from, prefacing its recap of a media story on the good guy: “Media blackout: Oregon mall shooter was stopped by an armed citizen.”

Stopped. Caused. Intervened. Ran. Confronted. Saw.

Here’s what the good guy says, according to interviews he gave to a TV station in Portland, complete with video of him displaying his Glock, which was picked up and aired by other stations and reported in the region’s newspapers: He entered the mall with a friend and her baby. When the shooting started, the friend and baby ducked for cover, and the good guy drew his Glock and positioned himself behind a column.

After the shooter fired several rounds – and two people had been killed – his AR-15 assault rifle jammed. The good guy took his chance to draw a bead on the shooter, got him in his sights – and then didn’t shoot, because he saw other people behind him. He retreated into a nearby store, keeping his eyes on the shooter. He says the shooter saw him.

The shooter fled the mall hallway, entered a service corridor and then a stairwell. Soon thereafter, he shot himself.

“I know that after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was at himself,” the good guy said.

The police have not confirmed his account; a spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office told me that investigators would not comment on any witness account to avoid tainting the investigation. In the public chronology assembled by the Sheriff’s Office, there is no mention of the good guy with the gun.

So: Stopped? Caused? Intervened? Ran? Confronted? Saw?

Are any of those words true? Right now, the best one could say is maybe, but maybe, when it comes to gun fables, is never good enough. There is no room for qualification, for the complicating reality, for the truth that maybe means maybe not.

It is indisputable that legally armed citizens sometimes defend themselves and others. That truth that does not need to rely upon fables, and the story of the good guy in the Clackamas Town Center is a fable. It has departed the world of the fact and entered completely into the business of fortifying passionate, unwavering belief. The truth about it – the verifiable truth – isn’t known, and never can be.

Even if the liberal media refuses to report it.

Shawn Vestal can be reached at (509) 459-5431 or Follow him on Twitter at @vestal13.
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